'I recall few of them looking like me': Golin's Nishal Ratanji on how BAME representation can grow within the marketing sector

In the marketing sector there has been little escaping the growing need to create a diverse workforce that reflects society. As part of this drive, BAME 20/20: Meet the Changemakers was created in order to shine a light on those from ethnic minority backgrounds succeeding in business. The Drum has joined forces with the project to speak to a few of its ambassadors.

Nishal Ratanji

This first in the series speaks to Nishal Ratanji, a manager at Golin in London about his views on the issue of diversity, and asks for some insights on how change can be made effectively to grow the number of BAME marketing professionals for the future.

The interview we conducted by the project’s co-founder, Adrian Walcott, chief executive and founder of marketing consultancy, The Sizzle Brand.

How do you see the issue of diversity across the marketing sector in comparison to other sectors?

Oddly enough, since starting full time employment, I’ve not experienced a lack of diversity in public relations. I did, however, notice a large lack of it during the early stages of my career, when doing various internships. I guess two things have changed since that point of my life: a) the industry has generally become better at championing diversity b) I now have more of a choice in where I want to work. And I have always been attracted to organisations rich in diversity, for obvious reasons.

If I look outside PR to other industries, I think all-in-all we’re not doing such a bad job. Before deciding to pursue a career in PR, I wanted to become a city trader, and did an internship at a well-established brokerage. On my floor and out of about 100 people, I recall few of them looking like me!

If you were starting out now what would you do differently?

I wouldn’t change a thing. I’ve been highly fortunate with my introduction to PR, through the Taylor Bennett Internship Programme. Without that gig, I’d probably be still trying to chase the dream of trading shares at a big bank, a job which is almost now obsolete thanks to technology.

What advice would you give to those of a minority background getting into the industry? What's the best ways to go?

Personally I would give the same advice to any young professional looking to get into the industry. Here's how:

1) Showcase your passion for the media, creativity and learning – the best way to do this is by writing a blog. Even having a profile on Instagram or Snapchat is good by modern standards!

2) Build your professional contacts by attending networking events. You can find lists of them on the PRWeek and PR Moments website.

3) Be relentless – finding a job is hard full stop. Don’t take the odd job rejection or 20 to heart! Learn from interview feedback, use recruiters as a resource to help better your CV and cover letters, establish a mentor contact who you can lean on for industry advice.

4) Remain current and open to change – the communications industry is fast changing beast. I started as a traditional PR guy, however, now I do everything from developing social media campaigns, right the way through to writing content for motion videos. It’s challenging but it’s fun.

More about BAME 20/20: Meet the Changemakers can be found here.

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